Tuesday, June 13, 2006

'Military Omniscience'

Not too long ago, I wrote about the game-ification of war, where the military’s war machine becomes controlled more like a video game with semi-autonomous war bots patrolling the future battlespaces waiting to be guided by some steady hand game controller on the other side of the world. Kids snacking after school, taking over the world.
Anyway, taking that notion a step further – but in a frighteningly more real direction - Stephen Graham says, “War is about to change.” It will “progressively cease to be the foggy, confusing, equalising business it has been for centuries, in which the risks are always high. […] Instead, “it will become remote, semi-automatic and all-knowing, entailing less and less risk to American lives and taking place largely out of the sight of news cameras.” In this cover story for the New Statesmen, Graham warns us of a new state of remote controlled warfare where soon “US forces will be able to deal out death, not at the squeeze of a trigger or even the push of a button but with no human intervention whatsoever, as the “machines will be able to kill on their own initiative.”
Dubbed the "new Manhattan Project", “Hundreds of research projects are under way at American universities and defence companies, backed by billions of dollars” Graham notes, to turn what has been called ‘military omniscience’ into reality, where cities digitized in unparalleled scales are constantly scanned by increasingly sentient drones (via) capable of striking the hair on your nose, networked surveillance sensors that can see through concrete walls or match your images with others taken around the world, smart dust insurgent tracking, bots and bugs hotrodded for war, and a whole set of military commands made flesh by the pressed button of a toy-like handheld game controller. It all spells a new medium for a globalized warfare, or a war against the "global south", and is coming sooner than we may care to believe.
Check it out, fascinating article, and then be sure to chase it down with some older Subtopian hits afterwards.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is really scarry shit. Absolutely insane.

2:47 PM  
Blogger jpb said...

Manuel DeLanda's War in the Age of Intelligent Machines is essential reading on this subject (although it could stand to be reissued in a revised edition)

7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Link to Institute for Creative Technologies, USC:


Link to ICT @USC published research including “Full Spectrum Warrior: How the Institute for Creative Technologies built a Cognitive Training Tool for the XBox” by James Korris:


An except from this paper: “Founded in August 1999, the Institute for Creative Technologies is a University Affiliated Research Center at the University of Southern California. Its mission focuses on the development of enabling technologies for the immersive virtual reality that may be used in creating the next generation of virtual training applications for the US Army…”

“…’Full Spectrum Warrior’(FSW), the first military training application published for a commercial game console.”

“Since the fall of the Soviet Union, US Army missions have changed with an emphasis on critical thinking and decision-making even at the lowest echelons. Operations in urban terrain against asymmetric, insurgent or transnational enemies often put a great burden of responsibilities on the youngest Soldiers.”…

…”From the user standpoint, leveraging Xbox meant exploiting a skill set that numerous young Soldiers bring with them to service in the US Army. The majority of new recruits are, at a minimum, casual gamers; a significant percentage are ’serious’ gamers.”…

Comment by kiddolizzie

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The screenplay for just such a "funny game" (in Michael Haneke's sense) in preparation by the Hudson Institute, Washington has been disclosed last week by a Turkish journalist. The setting of the game is Turkey. The players include 50 people in downtown Istanbul, who, alas, are assigned a not-so-spectacular role, more precisely that of dying from a bomb that is to be blasted with the help of army officials of the very country where the game is gonna be staged.

Here are some highlights from the document:

"June 18: A suicide bomber crashes his explosives-laden pick-up truck into the police station in Beyoglu, a crowded shopping and cultural district of Istanbul frequently visited by tourists. The resulting detonation collapses the front of the police station and severely
damages several nearby buildings. The attack claims the lives of at least 50 police officers, shoppers, and tourists, while critically wounding over 200.

Within hours, rumors spread that the PKK was behind the horrific attack, although no organization has yet claimed responsibility.

June 19: Interior ministry officials announce that the attacker was trained at a PKK camp
in Northern Iraq. The Turkish General Staff concurs with the interior ministry’s findings.
General Buyukanit warns that PKK terrorists will continue their attacks in major cities as
long as the Turkish-Iraqi border is left unprotected and the command and control structure of the terrorist organization is still intact. He maintains that the border can only be protected from both sides, and therefore, a military incursion should be enacted immediately."

more here: http://www.yenisafak.com.tr/resim/site/gp_030133.pdf

not only are the US government and its "think-tanks" fantasize about lives in the third world, but what's more scary they have no lack of local fascists to recruit as playmates!

11:07 AM  
Blogger Bryan Finoki said...


that's crazy stuff. thanks for posting that link. that territory where games meet war planning meet simulation with real live bodies meets odd government and propagandistic ties, is a crazy space to be sure.
think tanks as brainwashing facilities, street games as recruiting industries, mock-war as aculturation to it, wow - it's nuts, not sure what to make of it.
thx for linking though!

7:54 PM  

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